Prisca (prisca1960) wrote,

FanFiction - Casey & Zeke - Coming home (2 / 2 )

As promised ... here is the second (the last) chapter of 'Coming home'.  I hope you like - can't say: have fun wilth it, because I guess this story is a touch to dark for fun. Hope you don't mind.

Banner Casey/Zeke photo bannerfanfiction.jpg

Title: Coming home ( 2 / 2 )
Fandom: The Faculty / Casey & Zeke (no pairing)
Rating: R
Summery: After years Casey is coming home ...
Warnings: some dark stuff is mentioned
Disclaimer: The Faculty and the boys are not mine, of course ;)

Part one

It was around ten o'clock when Stan and Stokes said goodbye.
„We would like to stay a bit longer,“ Stokes said, looking apologetic.
„But our babysitter stepped in on short notice though she tomorrow has a test at school. I've promised her that it doesn't get too late.“

Zeke walked them out to their car. Stan hesitated before getting in.
“Maybe you should find some time to talk with him.”

“Hm? What do you mean?”

“You must have noticed it that he just puts on a show. I can still remember his first interviews, it was amazing how open he could talk about his work. Today he almost gets aggressive when you ask him about it. Something is going with him. And I guess he could need a good talk with a friend.”

Zeke sighed. So it was not just him who had noticed Casey's strange behavior.
“He's one of the most stubborn guys I know. If he don't want to talk he won't! He was always good with it to keep things for himself.”

Stan smiled slightly.
“But if someone can make him talk it's you. He's always trusted you more then anyone else.”

Zeke waved them goodbye and went back into the bar. Just to find Casey with another drink in front of him. Maybe this was the most disturbing fact. Zeke did see people sitting in his bar often enough, having a drink, two, three. Night after night, trying to fight their problems with too much booze. It was always just a short escape. The day would come and you either needed to find another way to get on with your life … or the decline was inevitable.

„Zeke? Do you have a moment?“

He looked up. Michelle, the young student who helped him out regularly, waved at him. There was a young guy in front the bar counter, he had put on his best poker face. Despite his own problems Zeke chuckled inwardly. Oh, that again.

“I will be back soon enough,” he murmured to Casey, then went over to the counter.
„Hey, name is Zeke. I'm the owner of this bar. What's the matter?”

“What kind of bar is this,” the young guy spat.
“She refused to give me my beer.”

„He say's, he's twenty-two,” Michelle throw in.

“Hm, I see. Do you have an ID card?”

„Sure. And I've already given it to her!”
He got louder now. But there was a slightly nervous vibration in his voice Zeke could read well enough.
“Obviously she is too dumb to ...”

Zeke narrowed his eyes. Enough was enough.
“Hey, slow down, okay,” he said with a strict voice.
“I guess you don't mind to give it to me again!”

The guy shrugged and threw the document on the counter. Zeke reached for it. Jason Winston, born 4/15/1982 in Columbus. He laughed slightly while giving it back.

„Nice try!”

Jason blinked.
„What do you mean?“

„I will give you a good advice: Next time better look twice before threw your money down the drain. This thing is shit. And now you should better go home, before I need to call your parents.”

The boy turned red and rushed out of the bar, without even bothering with his ID Card. Zeke went back to Casey and dropped down onto his chair.
“What a little shit,” he laughed.
“Thinks he can fool me with this poorly faked ID.”

To his surprise Casey giggled hilariously. So good to hear. How much he had missed this.
“So finally it has been good for something that you was the bad boy from Herrington.”
Casey looked around in the bar, still smiling.
“But I always kept faith with you. I knew one day you would find your way against all odds. Your own bar. That's so cool.”

“With a little help,” Zeke admitted.
“Some time ago I received a payout from a fund my grandma set up for me ages ago. Big surprise, I didn't even know about it. The bar was in a bad condition, I could get it for a very low price. It was a hell of a lot work but it was worth it. This is my world, you know, a place where I belong to. I've never had something like that before.”

“Oh, I get that! I can still remember my graduation day at College. It was as if the whole world was open for me. There was nothing what could stop me ...”

Then it was over, the mood changed again. Casey sighed and stared at the table. Zeke eyed him thoughtfully.
“What's happened, Case,” he asked softly.

“What do you mean?”

“Your dreams. What has become of it?”

“Why do you ask?”
His voice had this slightly aggressive undertone again.
“I am what I always wanted to be. A well-known photographer.”

“And you are happy with your life? With what you do?”

“How could I not?”
Casey snorted annoyed.
“I earn a shitload of money. People finally respect me. Do you know how it feels when everyone always laughs about you? When the only one who notices you is a fucking jock who likes to smash you into the flagpole every morning.

Nowadays? I already was invited to Letterman's Late Show. Can you imagine that? Me, Casey Connor, the most embarrassing geek from Herrington High meets David Letterman.

All my dreams are coming true. I can't imagine to do anything else.”

His voice got louder, he was gesticulating with his hands. Other guests in the bar turned their head and stared at them. But Zeke couldn't care less.

“Case,” he interrupted him.
“Stop trying to fool me. You're not okay! Maybe you can tell your mom, I'm afraid she will believe whatever you tell her, because she wants to believe.

But I know you better then anyone else. You've changed, Casey, and I don't like what I see. You are aggressive. You are evasive. You drink too much ...”

It was not a big surprise that Casey jumped up but Zeke flinched when he threw a handful dollars onto the table and yelled.
“Oh, I get it. You want me to pay for it? Fine! I don't need your handout.”
Without even bothering with his jacket he rushed out of the bar.

Zeke squeezed his eyes shut, not knowing what to do. He could run after him and make a fool out of himself. Or he could let him go. … No! No, he couldn't. Casey had always been there for him and now he needed help for himself. At least he needed to make sure that he got home safe. Zeke turned around and reached for his old, well-worn leather jacket.

“Hey, Michelle,” he said to the young woman behind the counter who was looking at him with curious eyes.
“Think it's okay when I'm gonna leave you alone for a while? I will be back as soon as possible.”

He had never asked for this before. Was always the first in the bar and the last one who left it. Michelle nodded without hesitating.
“Sure thing. Everything okay with your friend?”

“I guess!”
Zeke sighed.
“Stress with the job. All he needs is a break to find back to himself again.”

“'kay. I hope you can help him with that.”


Zeke had always been a speedy driver and he knew every back-road in Herrington. So it was not a big surprise that he did arrive at the Conner's house long before the cap Casey had taken home. When he noticed him waiting only a stones throw from the driveway, Casey glared at him.

„What the hell are you doing here?“

„I just wanted to make sure that you get home safely.“

„Well, I'm fine,“ Casey snapped.
„So can you please get off my back now? I'm tired!“

Casey made a few steps toward the house when Zeke stopped him again.
„I'm not the only one who worries about you. Stan noticed it too!“

„Noticed what?“

„That something is going on with you. That you try to hide something.“

„Bullshit! Stan is just jealous of my life. Because I get what he always wanted – fame and attention.“

Zeke took a deep breath, fighting with the urge to explode.
„If you could hear yourself talking,“ he murmured.

Casey shrugged as if he didn't care. Zeke sighed and turned back to the GTO. There was nothing he could do here anymore for the moment. But when Casey entered the porch an idea crossed his mind.
„You should better not go in there,“ he said, loud enough for Casey to understand the words.


„You should better not go in now and run into your Mom. Maybe you could fool her all over the time, but today even she will notice that you are in a fucking bad state. If you ask me, it's high time that she gets her wake-up call.“

Casey stopped in every movement. Suddenly he looked so small and helpless. It was hard to endure to see him like that. No one Zeke knew had ever been able to break him.

“But I'm fine,“ Casey protested though his weak voice called him a lair.
„All I need is a little break. The last trip … was hard.”

Finally a fragment of the truth. Zeke knew there was even more. But this was not the right place for such a talk.

„C'mon, Case, let's split. Before they notice us. Unless you prefers to be alone with your mom. Maybe she's able to get through your shell."

Casey took a deep breath and stared at him.
“I can't tell her,” he murmured.
“She will never get to know about all that!”

Like a robotic he finally got into the GTO. Zeke decided not to go back to the bar with him. Michelle would be able to make the last hour alone, only a few customers had still been around and most of them Zeke knew well, nice guys, mostly students from the nearby college, friends of Michelle. No need to worry.

The place he was thinking about was a little lake in the woods nearby. He hadn't been there for ages but he still knew the way off pat. It had been a sanctuary for Casey and him, after Mary Beth. When the whole world seemed to be turned around. Casey's mom wanted to know him safe round the clock and barely let him leave the house on his own. Reporters followed them where ever they went. Delilah's love for Casey turned out to be more the love for his fame. All they wanted was to leave all this behind. Running away was not an option, not for Casey. But one day they did find this hidden lake. The shore was littered with stones. The undergrowth was dense and thorny. No one else liked to come here. But Zeke did remember what Casey once had said.

“It's the only place in the world where I can be just myself.”

Zeke stopped at the little clearing near the lake. Casey refused to open his eyes, though Zeke was sure that he was awake. But as much as he wanted answers, he knew better than to force it. Casey would talk when he was ready for it.

After a while of smoking and silence Zeke left the GTO. When he came back just a moment later with two sodas he could hear Casey chuckling slightly.
“Some things never change. There was not much you couldn't find in your trunk.”

“You can never know for what it is good for!”
Zeke smiled back.
“Want one?”

Casey nodded.
“Yeah, thanks!”
He grabbed for the soda and bit his lower lip.
“For all, I guess.”

„That's what friends are for.”

It was almost dark in the GTO, just the moon shone a bit light on them. But Zeke could read his face anyway.

„I'm afraid I was not a good friend lately,” Casey murmured.
“It must be an eternity since we've talked for the last time. I'm too busy with jetting around the world. No time to bother with friends or family. I even forgot to call at my mom's birthday.”

„Well, maybe a little break is not the worst idea,” Zeke dared to threw in.

Silence for a while.
„Yeah, maybe.”
Halting, whispering, barely to understand.
“I just don't know how long it will last!”

Zeke always felt uneasy when it came to emotional releases. It started with a few choked sobs, but it ended with Casey's body shaking all over, tears streaming over his face. Zeke cursed inwardly while he put his arms around his shoulders to hold him. Why no one had noticed it before that Casey was in such a bad state was beyond him.

At the end the tears started to dry and Casey freed himself out of Zeke's arms. He looked embarrassed.
“Sorry,” he said.
“I'm afraid, I'm still a great drama-queen.”

“Seemed to be long overdue,” Zeke answered and handed him a pack of tissues.
“How long has this been going on, huh? How long do you pretend that everything is all right? It's the job, isn't it? I was always wondering how you could end as a photo reporter for a news magazine.”

Casey sniffed again, still fighting with his emotions.
“It was my second year at College,” he finally answered.
“There was this visiting lecturer, he had worked as a news reporter for some years. He's told us a lot about his work. And I knew I also wanted to do this. So much happens around the world and most people don't even know about it. With my pictures I can change this. My part to make the world a bit better.”
Casey sighed.
“Mr. Harris has warned us that it's a tough job sometimes. You need to learn to live with it. To let the horror not touch you too much.”

“Stupid idea,” Zeke snarled.
“You are one of the most caring guys I know. How can you not be affected from all this?”

“Oh, in a way I wasn't. It was kinda easy for me, much easier than for the other reporters who need to write their articles. I see the world through my camera lens, I can try to imagine that it's just a bad movie.”

“But it doesn't work anymore lately, huh? What is happened?”

„Africa,“ said Casey.
„My last job … almost two months ago now. I guess, I had a kind of a breakdown.”

“You guess?!”

“Well, they say it was one. I can't remember. The last I know is that I was taking pics of ...”
He stopped and grasped for air.
“There was this little girl, barely four years old. Do you know the pic? I got an award for it.”

Oh yes, Zeke could remember. He knew all of Casey's pics, but this one had been heartbreaking. The little girl with her big, brown eyes. The provisional bandage around her belly, a small and dirty rag, not able to hide the horrible wound, the blood which covered her. She was dying … and she had known it. Zeke could read it in her eyes. The picture always gave him the creeps. But despite of all the horror it told about it was unique, fascinating and it was hard to turn the eyes away.

“She was all alone.”
Zeke was startled out of his thoughts by Casey's whispering voice.
„Many children are alone. Their parents are dead. Missed. Shot. Starved. She didn't even cry. She was dying and didn't even cry. And I was standing there, taking my pics, pretending that all this was not real.

I got an award for watching a child dying. How can this be, Zeke? What's wrong with this world?“

Zeke put an arm around his shoulder, not knowing what else he could do. It was not that Casey expected an answer. He was just sitting there, looking at him with these big, blue eyes, strangely calm now.

“Some hours later I did wake up at a hospital at Capetown. They needed to fly me out because I was almost going postal … this is what John, one of the guys I'm working with, told me later. I don't know ...

Back here … the pic got far too much attention. I barely managed to get through the press conferences and stuff. Finally the bosses said I should take a longer brake, maybe talk to a therapist.”

“And? Did you?”

“I'm here!”

“Did you make an appointment with a shrink?”

Casey pulled the face.
“No, of course not. I'm not gonna talk with one of these idiots. Do you remember the one they send us after MaryBeth? For him we all were just nut-jobs, trying to give us airs. I bet, he didn't even believe us.”

Zeke looked at him thoughtfully. His barely hidden aggression, his anger, his desperation … he tried to be stronger than it was good for him. He did understand Casey's aversion against therapists, but it was obvious that he could need any kind of help.

“There are others,” he said.
“You can afford the best of them nowadays. Maybe you should give it a try.”

Casey kept quiet for a while. Finally he slowly shook his head.
„You don't understand,“ he said.
“I know where this will go to. Jimmy, a friend of mine, he was a brilliant reporter. Until one day he freaked out. Grabbed for his gun, started to shoot around, just into the air, you know, he didn't intend to hurt someone. They forced him into a therapy. After some appointments the doc did send his report. Attested him mental health, but his final conclusion was: I can't guarantee that it will never happen again.

Tz, that's ridiculous Of course there is no guarantee. Our job can get tough sometimes, you never know what will happen tomorrow. Everyone knew it, no one cares. Until some stupid shrink who has no clue about what we are doing says: no guarantee … Today Jimmy is working at a publishing house, he writes boring articles no one is interested in. And he is in therapy because of a drug problem.

Not with me, Zeke, never. They will not get my job.”

“You want to go back,” Zeke asked. Not a big surprise but a disturbing idea. No guarantee. It could get worse next time.
“After all what has happened?”

Casey hesitated for a split of a second; Zeke noticed it anyway.
“How can you ask? After all I've done to get there? All the years at Herrington High, before MaryBeth. Sometimes it felt as if I couldn't bear it any longer, I wanted to give up, leave school. But I needed this scholarship to go to New York. Later College. The first year was hard for me, I felt so alone, I've missed my mom … and you.”

Zeke couldn't help a smile.

“Yeah. Later I've made friends at College … I was never as close to them like we were, but good friends. My professor helped me through a lot too, he was a really nice guy. It was a stoney way but at the end I got a job others only can dream about.

How can I give this up just because I failed once? I will get over it. Next time I will be better prepared.”

Better prepared for what, Zeke wanted to ask. For watching a child dying? No, this would not be Casey anymore. Someone needed to stop him to take that route.

“You didn't fail, Case,“ he protested.
“You are one of the strongest guys I know. All the horror you are into every day … most others couldn't stand it even for a week. But maybe now time is right to quit the job and look for something else, before … I hate the idea that one day you might not come back again.”

Casey blinked and kept quiet for a while, thinking about Zeke's words.
“I know about the danger in these countries,” he finally said.
“I'm careful!”

“Don't fool yourself, Casey!”
Annoyed Zeke shook the head.
“I don't talk about it that you might get into an ambush of some terrorists or that some stupid religious nuts will take you hostage. I'm talking about what this job is doing with you. Casey Connor, the guy I knew once, would never be able to watch a child dying without freaking out. If you can, Casey, if your job is more import then all you believe in, this guy didn't exist anymore.”

He could hear him sucking in the air and he almost panicked when Casey reached for the door knob. The last he wanted was him to run away, here, in the middle of the nowhere, around midnight, without a place where he could go.

“Case, wait, we need to ...”

“Get off my back, Zeke,” he hissed and jumped out. Then he stopped dead and turned back.
“Sorry, I didn't mean to yell at you. Just gimme me a minute, okay? I don't do anything stupid, promised. Just a minute for myself.”

Zeke nodded, not totally convinced but what else could he do? He watched Casey walking down to the lake, where he finally stopped, staring at the dark water, lit by the faint moonlight. The minute turned into two, five, ten. Finally he couldn't bear it any longer and followed him, with his jacket in his hands.
“Hey,” he said as calm as he could and put it around his shoulders.
“It's chilly outside, guess you can need that.”


At least he didn't turn him down.
“I didn't intent to distress you. Of course it's your decision. I know, how much all this means for you.”

“But maybe you are right, Zeke. Maybe I can't do this anymore.”
Casey turned around to look at him.
“Photography was my life. And I was good with it. Just … whenever I look at my camera now, all I can think about is this little girl. I'm so scared, Zeke. What, when this never ends? What would I be left with?”

Zeke put one hand onto his shoulder, he could feel him trembling.
“Case, to quit this job doesn't mean to give up photography,” he said.
“I'm sure there are other possibilities for you. Remember Herrington High, your art course. You were bubbling over with ideas.”

“Oh god!”
Casey snorted slightly.
“That was so embarrassing. No wonder that they called me geeky.”

“Better that then boring.”
Zeke did remember well Casey's first steps into the world of photography and he chuckled slightly.
“It's easy to take pictures from your mom or from some flowers in the garden. But this was not what you wanted. You were always looking for a new challenge.”

“At my mom's kitchen. A photo series about her pots and pans was not my best idea. I bet, even Mr. Brown has secretly laughed about me.”

“But you got an A for it,” Zeke reminded him.
“Because he could see that your pics were somehow special. Maybe you should go back there, at the beginning. Recall your dreams. It's not that bad to make people laugh, you know, to show them that life can be great.”
He didn't think about it when he put his hand onto Casey's cheek. It was still wet from his tears, but warm and soft. Casey didn't pulled away.
“You did this to me, you know. Before I got to know you I didn't care much about my life. But you were always so positive, no matter what happened. You could find something good in just everything. It was kinda hard to be moody while being together with you.

You are made for it, Casey, to see the beauty in the world. Leave it to others to confront people with picture which will give them sleepless nights. You should better make them laugh. Give them hope."

Casey smiled slightly but sighed.
“It's not that easy, Zeke. All the things I've seen over the last years … I'm afraid I'm not the naive young boy anymore I was back then.”

Zeke kept quiet for a moment, thinking about everything. Was it already to late? Had Casey already changed so much that there was no way back? He was grown up, they all were grown up. Not all their dream had come true. That was life. But he was not willing to accept it. All he wanted was to get the Casey back he had known once. The boy with these amazing blue, sparkling eyes, with the most contagious laughter he had ever heard.

Suddenly an idea crossed his mind. Without even thinking about it he blurted it out.
“Pack a backpack with some stuff. We will get into the GTO and just split.”

Casey coughed confused.
“What are you talking about, Zeke? Where should we go to?”

“Let's see where the road takes us. We've often talked about it, remember? To leave everything behind, to stay where ever we want. Miami Beach, Niagara Falls, the West Coast. Maybe get into a plane, jet to Europe. Paris. Rome. Wherever you want go.”

“You can't be serious!”
Casey shook his head chuckling.
“We are not eighteen anymore. We have commitments. I have a job. You have a bar.”

“Quit the job, Case!”
Zeke sounded serious and determined
“And I will take some time out too. I've worked hard over the last years, without even one day off. Michelle and Damian will be able to keep the Coyote running. I know I can trust them.”

“This is barking mad,” Casey murmured.

But Zeke knew, he started to think about it. The thought just to run away was tempting. Zeke felt his heart beating quicker. On the road together with Casey … his best friend … more then just a friend … maybe … maybe ...

"Come with me,” he said softly.
"I know, somewhere out there still are your dreams. Let's see if we can find them.”

The end
Tags: casey & zeke, fan fiction
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